New Orleans:
Music, Culture and Civil Rights
An NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop for School Teachers

June 2019

(dates to come soon)

July 2019

(dates to come soon)

Watch this Space for More Details – To Come November 1, 2018!



STIPEND: $1,200

The evolution of New Orleans music is essential to American music and reflects a greater story of American history. For almost three centuries, New Orleans has fostered the integration of African, Caribbean, and European influences, persisted in the face of natural and manmade disasters, and influenced music and culture worldwide. New Orleans music provides a distinct lens for examining how the national confluence of cultures generates one-of-a-kind art forms. But an examination of the historical, economic, social, and political contexts of New Orleans tells an even richer story of how her music evolved.

Recognized worldwide as celebratory and exuberant, many see these art forms as purely performance-based—but a deeper study of New Orleans music provides a fascinating window into how an environment of harsh social conditions and vast inequalities can be the genesis of beautiful cultural forms, and how the music itself can be rooted in seeking social justice for all.

New Orleans: Music, History and Civil Rights utilizes as its central landmark the City of New Orleans itself – allowing for an in-depth investigation of her influences and inequities, and authentic engagement with the living, evolving musical forms that have emerged from her complicated history.

Workshop At-A-Glance

Watch this space for an outline of the workshop – November 2018.


New Orleans must be experienced, as well as studied in the context of scholarly investigation, so we will visit sites across the city that explore the chronological development of musical forms in light of their historical contexts. An inquiry-driven model of instruction will utilize essential questions to guide us through scholarly presentations, performances, and research opportunities. You will have a chance to interview culture bearers, listen to musical recordings and oral histories, and view photographs and artifacts. The workshop also includes time for individual reflection and group discussion, as well as experiential activities that will engage you from a “first-learner” perspective. While developing an individual project to take back to your classroom, you will craft your own investigation of New Orleans music and gather research and resources relevant to your curriculum and students.

About this photo: Louis Armstrong’s band at Suburban Gardens night club in Jefferson Parish, summer 1931. A white announcer refuses to introduce a black man on a radio broadcast on opening night, so Armstrong does it himself. An all white audience, all black performers, and black crowds listen from the nearby levee. White musician’s union AFM Local 174 complains to National Office and to Governor Huey Long, with the intent to place Suburban Gardens on “unfair” list for hiring a black band, “taking work away from white musicians.” In fact, Suburban Garden had hired Piron, Celestin, Ridgley and other black jazz bands throughout the 1920s. Image from the Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University.

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

Tulane University & Landmark Sites:

  • Congo Square
  • Claiborne Corridor
  • Historic Tremé
  • Backstreet Cultural Museum
  • St. Augustine Church
  • Preservation Hall